A seven-year-old girl from the north coast remains in a critical condition in Brisbane’s Lady Cilento Hospital after she contracted tetanus late last week.
The girl, who had not been vaccinated against the potentially fatal disease, was taken to Lismore Base Hospital before being transferred last Wednesday.
On Thursday, prominent anti-vaccination campaigner David Wolfe gave a sold-out talk on ‘nutrition, wellness and detoxification,’ to an audience at Mullumbimby, where vaccination rates are around 50 per cent.
Mr Wolfe, who denied that his talk was about vaccination, nevertheless provoked the ire of specialists.
University of Queensland virologist Ian Mackay said vaccine sceptics often sought out information from people like Mr Wolfe ‘who fuelled their fear.’
‘The anti-vax lobbies and groups are very smart today. They use information in a way that sounds correct, but if you follow that through you can see where the holes in this logic and this thinking are,’ Dr Mackay told ABC radio.
Lismore paediatrician Chris Ingall, who treated the girl told the broadcaster the anti-vaccination movement was ‘an ongoing source of frustration for many local health professionals.’
‘When these campaigners come up with their quasi theories they’re ignoring the fact that tetanus is with us,’ he said.
‘It’s part of our environment and it’s not going to go away just because they have a fancy theory.
‘This is a reality of not vaccinating,’ Dr Ingall told ABC.
But health minister Brad Hazzard warned against jumping to conclusions about the girl’s situation.
‘I don’t know the circumstances of the parents, whether it was deliberate or simply an oversight,’ he told Seven news.